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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Only In Minnesota!


Only in Minnesota do you go sledding wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a vest on January 31st.
He said it was 45 degrees outside.
When it is 45 degrees in Orlando we are wearing several layers of clothes, a jacket, gloves, and anything else we can find!
It looks like lots of fun.
Wish I was there!

Happy Birthday Jay!!!


Happy Birthday Uncle Jay!
Hope you have a great day!!!
Love,
Chris, Julie, CJ, Caley & Caitlyn

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Birthday Celebration - Times Two

Tuesday was Caley and Caitlyn's 6th Birthday. Where has the time gone? I know that sounds cliched, but it is true. It seems like only yesterday that I found out that I was pregnant, and thought it was only one baby. Fast forward 2 months, SURPRISE, it's twins! Fast forward 4 more months and I am in a hospital giving birth to two healthy girls. Then, in the blink of and eye (or a blur, with twins life can become a bit overwhelming) they are in Kindergarten and turning 6.

So today we celebrated!





The celebration started at school. Mom and Dad brought cupcakes for the girls and their classmates to eat. All of the kids sang "Happy Birthday" to the girls (it's always funny to see how each group will try to squeeze two names into the song). At the end of the song one of their classmates proclaimed "Caley and Caitlyn rock!" It was really cute. The girls are very fortunate to be well-liked by all of their classmates.




After school all of the grandparents came over for a family celebration. This is Caitlyn with Grandpa Tom. We were just getting ready to have dinner.


And here is Caley with Grandma Pauline. Both of the girls love to play dress-up. Caley got all decked-out in her Minnie Mouse dress and tiara for the party.


After dinner it was time for presents. I thought if I only invited the grandparents this year it would cut down on the amount of presents. I was wrong. They still made quite a haul. It was all good stuff though. They got a few toys and lots of new clothes. We are very happy and thankful for that.


Then it was cake time. Birthday theme-ing and decorating is always very interesting with twins. My biggest challenge is to try to figure out how to pull two themes into one. This year we had Tinkerbell and Disney Princesses (imagine that, I think we did the same theme two years ago). All of the decorations, and yes the cake, were half Tinkerbell and half Princesses. The table cover was Tinkerbell on one side of the table and Princesses on the other. The balloons were half Tinkerbell and half Princesses. The cake had purple frosting on the Tinkerbell side and pink frosting on the Princess side. Oh, and did I mention that the cake plates and napkins were half Tinkerbell and half Princesses. At least the colors work together! I don't want to think what the party would look like if one liked Star Wars and the other liked Princesses. Ooohhh, don't even think about it.

It was a fun day...but the party isn't over yet. Saturday morning we are going to take the girls to the Disney Hollywood Studios for the Playhouse Disney character breakfast.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WW - I Can't Wait to Eat That Cake!

The hanging tongue says it all!!!
For more Wordless Wednesday go to www.5minutesformom.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


Happy Birthday Caley & Caitlyn!


Hope your day is the best one ever!!!
Love,
Mom, Dad & CJ

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Disney Saturday

After a month full of scouting activities, we finally had a Saturday off to go to one of the Disney parks.

We had not been to Animal Kingdom for a while, so that was our choice for the day.

The park was only open until 5:00 pm, so I knew it would not be a real late night, which is always a good thing.

As we entered the park,Brer Bear and Brer Rabbit were greeting the guests.

Caley and Caitlyn love to have their pictures taken with the characters.

There was a time when they were terrified of them.

I am glad that they like to visit with them now.




Chip and Dale were waiting to greet us as we walked out of the "Festival of the Lion King" show.

Twin chipmunks with twin girls! ;-)




We happened upon this cool walkway that goes around the "Tree of Life."

It is a great place to take a quiet walk and get some great pictures of all of the animals that are carved into the tree.

It was a perfect day to go to the park, not too hot, not too cold, and not crowded at all!!!

Back to the Pack Campout - Part 2

After everyone finished their lunches and had a little time to rest and play, we got back to the business of the campout. The afternoon started with a visit from one of the park rangers, Miss Ginger. Miss Ginger was nice enough to set up a nature scavenger hunt for all of the kids to go on. While we were busy doing our morning activities, the park rangers were out putting up 20 bright orange signs. Each sign identified a different plant or tree that is common to Florida. The signs also gave useful information about each plant or tree. The kids were given a checklist to carry around the park with them while they looked for each sign. We broke the kids up into 4 groups to complete the activity. When each group had found all 20 of the plants on the list they reported to Miss Ginger at the park office. Miss Ginger asked the kids a few questions about what they had learned, and she gave each of them a prize for completing the scavenger hunt.


After all of the kids had completed the scavenger hunt we broke them back up into our two original groups from the morning session. The afternoon activities included a softball game and building and shooting marshmallow shooters.

While half of the kids were playing softball, the other half was working on their marshmallow shooters. Each kids was given a zip-loc baggy that contained all of the pieces that they needed to construct a marshmallow shooter. Once they got the shooter put together, I gave them stickers to decorate their shooters.



Finally, once everyone finished constructing and decorating their shooters, we gave them each a small cup of marshmallows to shoot. We set up a target range of pie tins. The kids were allowed to shoot only in the pie tin target range and only at the targets. They were given strict instructions that if they were caught breaking either of the rules, their shooters would be taken away until the end of the campout. Luckily for us, everyone followed the rules!



CJ takes aim at the targets.


The girls got in on the fun too. They waited until most of the boys were gone, and then took advantage of having the range all to themselves.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Funnies!!!


For all us moms who think our children possess hidden talents.
I got this cartoon in an email and it just kind of made me laugh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back to the Pack Campout - Part 1

I can't believe it is Thursday and I am just getting to writing about last weekend's campout. What happened to the week?
Last weekend Cub Scout Pack 220 held a "Back to the Pack" campout. The purpose of this campout is to get the new year started and to get the boys thinking about scouting after the long Christmas break.

This year we held the campout at Magnolia Park. A park/campground that is about 20 minutes away from where we hold our den meetings. It was nice and close to allow everyone to participate. It was a cool weekend, but we still had a good turnout. We had 25 campers the first night and 22 the second. We also had about 65 adults and children out for the day on Saturday to participate in all of the activities.

When I arrived at Magnolia Park on Friday afternoon I was greeted by two wild peacock's. It was really cool. They were very friendly and tame. They just milled around while we set up our campsite.



Saturday morning everyone got up at about 7:00 am. The pack leaders prepared a breakfast of pancakes, sausage and orange juice for all of the overnight campers and anyone who came out early for the day's activities.

After breakfast we had an opening flag ceremony and organized the kids for the morning activities. The cub scouts and their siblings were divided into two groups. While group one was playing flag football, group two was making a mosaic craft(see my Tackle It Tuesday post from last week). After one hour the groups switched places and completed the activity that they had not already done.

All of the kids really seemed to like the mosaic craft. They worked hard on it and really took their time. A few of the kids made something that they could bring home to their mom's. Others made something of interest to them. We had a few with flowers, a few with Pack 220 and a few with a Star Wars theme on them.


Here is what some of the finished projects looked like. Not to bad, and pretty creative. It turned out to be a great craft idea for the outdoors. The clean-up was easy, the mess wasn't bad, and the materials, if dropped on the ground, would not be harmful to the environment.

After the kids finished their craft projects and played flag football, it was time for lunch. All of the families were on their own for lunch. It was a nice time to talk and get to know each other a little bit better.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Amazing Works of Art




I received an email today containing these paintings. The email did not include the name of the artist or any information about the paintings. I was so intrigued and amazed by them that I decided to google 'feather painting' and it lead me directly to the artist's website. How cool!


Anyway, the artist is aware that these paintings are being circulated without her permission and without anyone giving her credit for her work. I decided to share them with anyone who reads my blog and give her full credit.


The artist's name is Julie Thompson. She has a website with many more paintings on it. Her web address is http://www.featherlady.net/. She also has a blog. Her blog site is http://featherlady.blogspot.com/.


These amazing works of art really are feathers (many from peacock wings) that she has painted beautiful scenes on.


I am so intrigued by these paintings because I cannot imagine the patience it takes to paint on feathers. I also love Alaska and all of the wildlife and scenery that they are lucky enough to have there. I hope to visit Alaska one day.


Take a look at Julie's work and if you receive the email containing her work, give her the credit that she deserves.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Thought ~ Invisible Mother



It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'


Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, of sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more. Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?


Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and that studied history and the mind that graduated Summa cum Laude - but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside off a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing pieces fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.' At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.


The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes pies, and them she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by other sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

I am in great debt to my invisible mother.


-Anonymous

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday



Ahhhh! I think it is multiplying while I sleep!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday - Cub Scout Craft

If you have read a few of my posts, you know by now that we are heavily involved in Scouting. Well, if we haven't bitten off enough for the pack in the past, we certainly have this week. This weekend Cub Scout Pack 220 will be hosting a 'Back to the Pack' camp out. And, guess who is planning the whole weekend? Yeah, you got it. My husband and I. Crazy, I know.

For my part, I am working on a couple of crafts for the kids make while they are camping.

Since all Cub Scout packs are not-for-profit, and generally have a limited budget, most activities need to be done without spending too much money. Another consideration I had for this particular project is that the kids will need to make this outside. I didn't want to choose materials that could be damaged outside or that would 'leave a trace.' We are always reminding the boys to 'Leave No Trace,' leave the world the same or better than you found it.

So, the project that I came up with is an original mosaic picture made with simple, everyday objects.






My supplies for the project are; cardstock sheets in various colors - cut in half, wooden craft sticks, glue, and a variety of dry beans and different types of dry pasta.




Here are the samples that I came up with. I used a half sheet of cardstock and glued crafts sticks along the outside edges to make a frame. Next I drew my basic design on the cardstock with glue. On top of the glue I placed pieces of dry pasta and beans to make my picture come to life. While I was creating these two pictures I realized that it would be nice to have a few more colors to work with. I will be going back to Target to get some split peas, for a little green, and a couple more types of pasta to make the pictures a bit more interesting.
I think the kids will have fun with it. I will post a few pictures of their creations as soon as I have some!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Saturday Full of Scouting

This weekend was the annual Sand Lake district Webelos Woods camp out. This camp out is designed for Webelos from every pack, to spend a weekend with all of the Webelos from the district, doing Webelos stuff. CJ and I did not camp the whole weekend, but we did drive out early on Saturday morning to join the other boys from our pack.
The day started with an opening flag ceremony at 8:45 am. From there the group was divided into patrols. Each patrol had a schedule for the day to attend classes for 6 different activity badges. Pack 220 was part of the Cougar patrol. In the morning our boys worked on their Readyman, Athlete and Outdoorsman activity badges. In the afternoon we had classes for Engineer, Artist and Forester activity badges. It was a full day of activities. The volunteers who planned the day did a great job of making each activity badge class fun and informative.



Our first class after lunch was Engineer. The class was taught by a Disney Imagineer and an Architect. The boys all loved this class. They got to see a set of surveyor plans for Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. They also got to see elevations and a floor plan for the guest room that is now located inside Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom. If that wasn't enough, they built catapults, a working electrical circuit, and a simple crane. All in one hour!


At the Artist activity badge class the boys made a mobile out of hangers and found nature objects, a sculpture out of clay, painted a picture with water colors, talked about primary and secondary colors, and learned about different careers in art.


After all of our classes were done, we took a little time to celebrate a 10th birthday for one of our scouts. It seems like we have a birthday to celebrate at every camp out. It is great for the boys to be able to celebrate together and eat a few cupcakes!




When the birthday celebration was over, I gave each boy a special patch that they get for attending the event. One of the boys from our den had gone home already so he is not in the picture. We had 5 out of 9 boys attend the camp out. Great participation! They had a really good day, got to know each other a little better, and learned a lot.

Next year we will make plans to spend the whole weekend at this event. It was a good time, well organized, and something that CJ is already looking forward to next year.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday Thought ~ A Bit of Humor

I got this in an email from a friend. I thought it was so funny that I just had to share it with everyone. Remember to go to the left hand column and click the music off before watching the video. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday




Can you guess what they got for Christmas?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday - Catching Up

In the blog world I am somewhat of a new comer. I am spending a lot of time these days searching the blogosphere. I have been reading other blogs to get some clues as to what other people blog about. One blog that I have been spending a lot of time looking at is, 5 Minutes for Mom (see their button on the left column of my blog). Tackle It Tuesday's is a regular feature on 5 Minutes for Mom. I think it is a great idea. I have so many projects that I want to work on. Maybe, Tackle It Tuesday's will give me a little push in the right direction. This way I can work some of my projects and blog about them at the same time.

My Tackle It Tuesday contribution for this week is all about getting caught up, packed up, straightened up and back in the swings of things to start 2009. Here is a list of some of the things that I have done in the last few days.

1. Took down both Christmas trees. Packed up all of the ornaments and lights.

2. Took down all of the "other" Christmas decorations (lights on the house, stockings, advent calendar, place mats, towels, candles, etc.)

3. Found homes for most of the gifts that the kids received. I still have a few things sitting in the family room. I am planning to get those things put away tonight.

4. Got out all of the school supplies. Yep, it was time to dust off those backpacks and lunch boxes and make sure they were ready to go back to school yesterday.

5. Shop for breakfast and lunch foods for the first week of school.

6. Got ready for the first Cub Scout Den meeting of 2009. This also involved my taking a trip to the Scout Shop to pick up some patches, drop off some paperwork, and get answers to a few questions for other people. And they say that scouting only takes 1 hour per week. Oh sure it does!!!

7. Visit the doctor for that check-up that all women love. Of course this one doesn't just stop at one appointment. After seeing my doctor today, I now have two more appointments and a business card for another doctor that she wants me to see. With every year, they add another "maintenance" item for you to look into. Oh joy!

So, that's it. These are the things that I have been tackling for the last few day. Next week I plan to tackle something much more exciting. But, I guess all of these things needed to be done first. After all, we don't want to be "those" people with the Christmas decorations hanging from their house in April. ;-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

That makes 6



Six, yes six, lost teeth since I started this blog at the beginning of September. You would think there would be some way that we could put all of these homeless teeth to good use???

This time it was Catilyn. Is it strange that the girls are in a perfect 'every other pattern' with the lost teeth? Yet another mysterious twin connection?

Saturday morning I was helping Caitlyn brush her teeth. I knew that she had a loose tooth and they never brush very good when one of their teeth is loose. So, as I was inspecting her work and brushing the neighboring bottom teeth, the loose one was just flopping back and forth. I am not sure what was holding it in place, it couldn't have been much. This tooth was so loose that I could bend it completely over with the tooth brush.

I told Caitlyn that it was time to pull the tooth out before it fell out by itself and she either swallowed it or washed it down the drain while brushing.

Well, dad overheard our conversation and ran in to save the day. I refuse to pull these teeth out, but he seems to be an expert in this area. So, after a few minutes of coaxing and lots of tears, Caitlyn finally let dad put his fingers in there and give the tooth a little yank. It popped out without any effort at all.

After a few more minutes of drama, we put the tooth in the Tooth Fairy box and placed it on Caitlyn's dresser to await our friend, the Tooth Fairy's, visit that night(we might as well just make up a little bed for her in the girl's room at this point).

As you can see, the Tooth Fairy found her way to the girl's bedroom. Caitlyn woke up to find a Webkin dog on her dresser. The dog has been adopted and named "Mickey."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandpa G.!!!


Hope you have a great day with lots of presents and a BIG chocolate cake!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Marley & Me




Part of our New Years Eve festivities included a trip to the movie theatre to see "Marley & Me." Despite some of the rotten reviews that I just read about this movie, I thought it was pretty good.


The movie starts with John and Jennifer Grogan running down the street, in the snow, just after getting married. Next they decide to move away from Michigan to Florida. Once in FL they both get jobs as writers with local news papers and move into their first house. To prevent having a baby right away, John surprises Jennifer with a new puppy. Enter Marley. They go through a whole series of crazy situations with Marley that all dog owners can relate to. Everything from chewing everything that he can get his mouth on to chasing him across the field at a Marlins game.

The couple continues on with their lives and careers, eventually they add 3 children to the mix and end up moving to the suburbs of Philadelphia. By this time, Marley has become an old dog and a member of the family. One night Marley goes out and does not come back to the house. John finds him lying under a tree, and obvioulsy not doing well. Marley is taken to the vet, where they discover that his stomach has twisted. The vet is able to help Marley, and he survives this time. However, the vet warns that it will probably happen again. The rest you have to see for yourself.

I went into the movie knowing that it would probably have a sad ending, but I did not know how much of a tear jerker it would be. If you are looking for a good cry, this movie is for you. If not, you might want to skip it for now. If you have ever loved a dog, you will be able to relate to everything in this movie.

It is rated PG for thematic material, some suggestive content and language. There are two scenes that feature adult situations, and are a little uncomfortable to watch with kids. There is no nudity, but it is suggestive. I also remember hearing one bad word, and the movie is sad at the end. Other than that, I really liked it and it held the kids attention.